My ‘Winter-Wellness’ Routine [All About Probiotics, On Guard, Echinacea & Multi-vitamins]
I am legitimately knocking on wood as I type this, buuuuut here goes... this is the FIRST cold/flu/winter season that I have not been sick! Not even once! Now- if you know me, I’m typically prone to contracting any and all colds/flus/gunk that everyone else around me catches. I work with the public as a pediatric PT and from December-March it’s game ON! [Typical scenario goes a lil’ sumthin like this: snotty toddler + big ol’ sneeze straight into my face= next day you can guarantee I’m down for the count & calling out sick]. I’m even more surprised that I’ve been so well this year considering how terrible this flu season has been and the fact that my husband had the flu for several days & I even slept in the same room as he did (side note: this may or may not have been a bit of an undercover little experiment to see just how well my wellness routine was working 🤣)...
Anywho, did I catch anything? Nope. HOW, you ask?! BECAUUUUUSE, I came into this cold and flu season Laura Croft: Tomb Raider style- ready to blast any and all germs that I was sure to be surrounded in! I did this by adding a few new daily vitamins and supplements into my routine starting back in November, and quite honestly this is the only thing I can account for keeping me so "well" this season! I want you to know my fingers and toes are currently crossed in hopes that I’m not jinxing myself by posting this *prematurely* before flu season has fully ended, butttt I figured if it helped some of you to stay well it would be worth it! Y-A-Y selflessness?!? Now, I have always been one to take a daily multivitamin on days that I remember, and in winter usually will throw in an additional vitamin-C gummy. This year I wanted to be one step ahead of the germs so first I’ll lay my routine out there for ya, and then I’m gonna get into the nitty gritty on how and why each aspect can support your body!
**If you’re not someone who wants to know the 'how and why' with things or the nerdy science behind the function of certain supplements then you may wanna stop here-- but, knowledge is power, right?! So I say, EDUCATE yourself! And then go rule the world or some -ish like that**
MY WELLNESS ROUTINE:
So, every day about 30 minutes after I eat breakfast I take:
1 - Biohm probiotic capsule (if I haven’t already added their superfood blend into my breakfast!)
1 - doTERRA OnGuard capsule
1 - Echinacea capsule
1 - Zyrtec & 1 Dose Flonase
What are they & how do they work?
I decided to add a daily probiotic supplement (BIOHM) into my wellness routine after reading an article about how beneficial they can be for immune support. I've alway known that your gut can immensely affect your overall wellbeing, but I always associated it with digestive health in general and never really considered it could play such a large factor in immune system wellness. Some of my research led me to the following information (that I plan to do my best to summarize without leaving any interesting info out!) ;)
PROBIOTICS are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infections. Probiotics are actually "live microorganisms", in most cases, bacteria, that mimic the bacteria that exists in the human gut. Probiotics are present in our systems right from birth, and if you don’t have enough probiotics in your system, the side effects can include digestive disorders, skin issues, yeast infections, autoimmune diseases and frequent colds and flus due to an inefficient immune system. In addition to the impact on our immune systems, our digestive tract is the second largest part of our neurological system which is why some people refer to your gut as your 2nd brain!
The strongest evidence to date finds that probiotics benefits include:
- boosting immune system
- preventing and treating urinary tract infections
- improving digestive function
- battling gastrointestinal disease
- preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and even may also protect against C-difficile infection
- healing inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS
- managing and preventing eczema in children
- fighting food-borne illnesses
Newer studies that are currently underway may soon prove that probiotics can:
- reduce flu and colds
- reduce overuse of antibiotics
- treat kidney stones
- treat colic
- prevent cavities and gum disease
- treat colitis and Crohn’s disease
- combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- treat liver disease
- battle cancer (5a)
- prevent sepsis among newborns (5b)
- manage autism
- lower cholesterol
- fight bacteria that causes ulcers
- improve acne
- lose weight
You may be wondering what causes one to become "low" in their probiotic level and historically speaking, we received sufficient amounts of probiotics in our diets from eating fresh foods grown in good soil and by fermenting foods to keep them from spoiling. These days, because of refrigeration and the use of pesticides and preservatives- our food now contains little to no probiotics, and in all actuality, most foods actually contain dangerous antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies.
Many people with health issues, such as chronic fatigue, thyroid imbalances, joint pain, psoriasis, autism and other conditions are not aware that these illnesses originate in the gut. There are several other ways you could be unintentionally killing off the good bacteria and probiotics in your digestive tract including:
- Prescription antibiotics
- Tap water
- GMO foods
- Emotional stress
- Chemicals and medications
SO- now that you know the how and why, lets get to the "HOW TO FIX IT?!" If the secret to restoring your digestive health involves balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut you've got to consider adding more probiotic-rich foods into your diet, or adding in a daily probiotic supplement! Personally this is how I ensure I get adequate amounts:
- BIOHM daily supplement and on days I make smoothies I add their 'Superfood Probiotics' blend into my smoothies instead.
- I also incorporate some form of probiotic rich yogurt into my weekly diet with the following: Kefir, Skyr Icelandic Yogurt, Goodbelly Probiotic Shots
Other great sources:
- Kombucha tea
I found BIOHM on Instagram and after reading about them on their website I was sold! They sent me over some supplements and their superfood blend and I am hooked! Here is some information I obtained from the BIOHM website:
"Good bacteria is only part of the story. Your gut contains both bacteria and fungi. However, ordinary probiotics only address bacteria, ignoring fungi's role in digestive balance. We didn't think that made sense. By combining good bacteria + good fungi + digestive enzymes, BIOHM helps maintain the balance of bacteria AND fungi in your gut, all while breaking down digestive plaque. BIOHM is the first probiotic proven to break down Digestive Plaque, allowing it to balance your gut’s bacteria and fungi."
**** IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Side Effects: Probiotics are considered safe overall for generally healthy people; some short-term side effects may include mild gas and/or bloating. Keep in mind that if you do have these physiological symptoms, they may not always be good side effects. Some probiotics may overstimulate ones immune system. If you are immune-compromised, have certain bowel problems or are seriously ill in any other ways, avoid probiotics unless your doctor has approved them. Probiotics should be used cautiously by pregnant women, infants and young children and you should never given to premature infant ****
doTERRA On Guard:
I started using doTERRA essential oils last year and decided it was worth a shot to incorporate them into my winter-wellness routine after hearing so many people rave about the 'On Guard' line of oil blends and products. The 'On Guard' essential oil blend is considered a 'protective blend' is meant to be diffused in your home or used as a sanitizing spray for your home and provides a natural and effective alternative to synthetic options for immune system support. This oil blend features a combo of Wild Orange, Clove Bud, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon and Rosemary essential oils. The 'On Guard + Softgels' are meant for ingestion and are comprised of Black Pepper, Oregano and Melissa oils in conjunction with the proprietary blend of the 'On Guard' oil. Using this as a daily supplement is said to be a great way to strengthen and maintain healthy immune function when seasonal threats are high, or to protect against elements that can weaken the immune system. They also support healthy circulatory and respiratory system functions.
I was slack about diffusing the 'On Guard' oils but I will say that I diffused religiously while my husband had the flu! I use the hand sanitizer between patients and hand washing and I started taking the soft gels every day back in November and have not missed a day since. I truly believe having this supplement remain a daily constant has been a game changer in my wellness routine! Not sure I will ever stop taking this- and knowing that it is truly natural and a certified pure therapeutic grade level of essential oil allows me to be confident that it is safe to ingest.
Echinacea is a very popular herb that people commonly take it to help prevent flu and colds. Echinacea is available over the counter at pharmacies, health food stores and supermarkets and can be purchased in the form of teas, liquid extracts, dried herb, and encapsulated as a supplement/pill. Echinacea supports the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flus and many other illnesses, infections, and conditions. All species of the Echinacea herbal remedy have compounds called phenols that control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors and have strong anti-oxidative properties. As we all know, antioxidants are beneficial for human health. Echinacea also contains alkamides which have an effect on the immune system.
Other potential benefits include:
- recently found to aide in combatting brain tumors
- pain alleviation- was used by the Great Plains Indians for natural pain relief
- mild natural laxative
- superb skin benefits including cell regeneration
- relieves upper respiratory issues
- fights infections
So we all know our bodies need a multitude of vitamins and nutrients to function properly... You CAN get most all of these form a healthy balance diet, but lets be serious- who maintains that 24/7? That is why I, ever since I can remember, take a daily Multivitamin. They are pretty much a combination of different vitamins and minerals found in food sources and in my opinion they pretty much just "bridge the gap" in what I am lacking through my diet.
For those of you who enjoy a good bullet-point list breakdown here are 20 little-known ways a daily multivitamin can promote optimal health and well-being I found on https://www.drwhitaker.com/20-little-known-reasons-to-take-a-daily-multivitamin :
- Support healthy aging. As you get older, your body has a harder time absorbing nutrients from food. At the same time, your nutritional needs increase.
- Correct nutritional deficiencies caused by prescription drugs, surgery, and nutrient- wasting conditions such as diabetes and infections.
- Improve short-term memory. According to a meta-analysis of 10 randomized, placebo-controlled trials, taking a daily multivitamin can help improve short-term memory.
- Boost energy levels. Several studies have demonstrated that taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is associated with increased energy levels.
- Detoxify your body. Minerals, antioxidants, and B-complex vitamins present in a high-quality daily multivitamin help clear toxins from the body, facilitate enzymatic reactions required for detoxification, and keep the liver and other organs in tip-top shape.
- Maintain muscle strength. Age-related loss of muscle mass is associated with free radical damage. An antioxidant-rich daily multivitamin helps keep free radicals in check. Vitamin D has also been shown to improve muscle strength in older people.
- Prevent falls. Numerous studies have found that a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement—particularly one with therapeutic dosages of vitamin D (at least 1,000 IU) and calcium (1,000 mg)—can improve balance and reduce risk of falls.
- Improve sense of smell. Anosmia, the inability to detect odors, may be caused by a deficiency of zinc. Low levels of vitamins B12 and A along with copper are also associated with changes in sense of smell (and taste).
- Protect against hearing loss. In one study, people with elevated homocysteine levels had a 64 percent increased risk of hearing loss. The best way to lower homocysteine levels? B-complex vitamins.
- Improve your skin. Research has shown that beta-carotene and vitamins C and E are important for maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin.
- Stave off asthma and allergies. People with asthma and those prone to allergies often have depleted levels of vitamin C, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
- Prevent diabetes complications. Diabetes increases urination and thus loss of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, resulting in deficiencies that dramatically increase risk of additional problems that affect the eyes, nerves, blood vessels, kidneys, and extremities.
- Boost mood. Many studies have found that a daily multivitamin has positive effects on mood and emotional well-being.
- Manage stress. Along with boosting mood, research has shown that a daily multivitamin—particularly one containing therapeutic dosages of B-complex vitamins—can help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Enhance weight loss. A randomized, double-blind study of obese women found that those taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement lost an average of 7.9 pounds, compared to 2 pounds for those taking supplemental calcium and .5 pounds for those in the placebo group.
- Improve sexual function. Optimal sexual function is dependent on robust flow to the organs that are responsive to sexual hormones. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins protect the arteries and improve blood flow throughout the body. Zinc is a requisite for testosterone production, the hormone of desire in both men and women—yet another reason why taking a potent daily multivitamin can boost libido and performance.
- Prevent dry eyes. A lifetime of free radical damage takes its toll, and our eyes are no exception. Antioxidants, especially vitamin A, are essential for maintaining lubrication and overall eye health.
- Stop telomere erosion. Chromosomes, found in the nucleus of all your cells, carry the genetic blueprints for your growth, development, and physiological function. At the tips of every chromosome are protective “caps” called telomeres, which naturally get shorter as we age. Research has found that taking a daily multivitamin can help slow and even reverse this erosion.
- Reduce cravings for alcohol. Better control drinking by making sure you have adequate levels of B-complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
- Prevent dental problems. Vitamin C plays a key role in the prevention of gum disease, as it helps maintain the integrity of the supporting structures of the oral tissues.
Zyrtec & Flonase
Now this one is a personal preference because I am prone to allergies. I have found that if I maintain use of Zyrtec and Flonase, which are known as anti-histamines, throughout cold/flu and allergy-prone seasons (spring), I end up not getting the typical and common sinus infections and ear infections that I have struggled with my whole life. Antihistamines work by stopping the release of histamine - a substance produced by the body that causes watery eyes, itching, sneezing, runny nose and breathing problems. I try to take the Zyrtec daily (especially now that we are approaching Spring) but Flonase I probably only take 1 dose every 3 days or so if I feel like I am getting stuffy or if I know I will be flying to keep my ears and sinuses clear. Again, I suggest you contact your doctor before starting on any new medications or supplements.
Thank you guys so much for reading! I hope this answered some questions you may have had about multivitamins and probiotics and hope that if you are struggling with wellness, you maybe give a few of these a try! After consulting your doctor of course!
As I type this, I am sitting in the Baltimore Airport praying again, that I am not jinxing myself. BUT, I woke up at 5 am- ate a little breakfast, took all of my vitamins and supplements and prepared my body for the germs! You should too!